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Gilmour Fights Back To Sixth In Otago Rally

Following a tough start to her home event, Emma Gilmour fought back to finish sixth in the Otago Rally yesterday.

The two-day event was the 2024 Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship's (NZRC) opening round and Emma had high hopes for a top result.

"Coming into the event, I was targeting a finish high up the pack, but I was also realistic that Otago was the first rally I had entered for a year and also only six months since my Extreme E crash in Sardinia," Emma says.

"Following six months of rehab for my head injury, to be back in the Vantage Windows & Doors WRC2 C3 rally car, driving at full competition pace, was a big deal in itself."

Emma and new co-driver Katrina Renshaw had a great start on stage 1, finishing fourth, before misfortune struck in stage 2.

"We got caught out by a hole on the inside of a corner and damaged the steering badly. Amazingly the car still drove – kind of – but I knew we couldn’t fix it in the stage and would just have to try to limp out. So we haemorrhaged about 2 minutes on our stage time but thankfully we made it to the service park."

The Paddon Rallysport crew set to work, quickly repairing the damage and sent Emma and Katrina on to stage 3.

"My confidence had taken a bit of a knock and with the rally's super-fast stages ahead of us, I couldn’t quite get in the groove for the afternoon," Emma says.

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After a constructive debrief on Saturday night, the team hit reset for Sunday and came out swinging. They set top five stage times for seven of yesterday's eight stages and battled their way back into sixth place overall.

"We definitely had better pace today. Katrina did a really good job with the pace notes and we regained our confidence," Emma says.

She thanked her sponsors for their support and also her main mechanic Ollie Talbott, along with the Paddon Rallysport team.

"They did a great job all weekend and kept the car running faultlessly."

Emma is now looking forward to a one-day event not too far from home next month, with the NZRC's second round held in South Canterbury on 11th of May.

The Southern Lights Rally will take place in Southland on 22nd of June before a nearly three-month mid-year break.

The North Island rounds begin on 14th of September with the Daybreaker Rally based out of the Manawatu, while Rally Bay of Plenty returns on the 5th of October.

The championship will finish with International Rally of Whangarei taking place on the 8th -10th of November.

Emma Gilmour thanks the following sponsors for their support: Vantage Windows & Doors, Gilmour Motors Suzuki, Dura-Seal, Dayle ITM, MITO, Suzuki New Zealand, Castrol NZ, Sparco, Allport Motorsports, Custom Signs, NGK, Webdesign, Pure Sports Nutrition and Body Synergy Gym.

2024 Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship calendar

Round 1 13 - 14 April Otago Rally
Round 2 11 May Rally South Canterbury
Round 3 22 June Southern Lights Rally
Round 4 14 Sept Daybreaker Rally
Round 5 5 Oct Rally Bay of Plenty 
Round 6 8 - 10 Nov International Rally of Whangarei

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